(To the Peak via the Seoul Trail)
You've heard of Bukhansan. But have you heard of Suraksan? Yeah, Bukhansan gets all the buzz, but Suraksan is a quieter alternative that provides a great view of Seoul. There are quite a few routes that hikers can take when hiking Suraksan.
The Seoul Stop prefers starting at the Seoul Trail. It is quiet, serene, and peaceful. It eventually reconnects with the main trail that leads to Suraksan's peak. You can admire Suraksan's amazing views and unique attractions (e.g. Elephant Rock). Once at the top, take a seat and admire the view.
The Scouting Report
- How To Get There
- Cool Down
- Elsewhere On The Web
- Extra Tips And Information
Suraksan, or as the locals know it: 수각산, is a 638-meter high mountain that straddles the borders of northeast Seoul, Namyangju-si, and Uijeongbu-si. It's not the most popular mountain in or around Seoul, but that is precisely what makes it worth visiting. The vistas seen from Suraksan are just as rewarding as those found on other Seoul mountains, and the number of people you have to encounter while hiking to those spots is much fewer.
Interested in knowing more about Suraksan? Click on a link to jump to a particular section, or just continue reading.
Comfortable hiking shoes or sneakers are recommended. You will encounter a mix of concrete and dirt paths, wooden stairs, and several rocks of various sizes.
(1=easy, 5=difficult): 3.5
-It gets a little strenuous near the top.
How To Get There
- Make your way to Danggogae Station (단고개역) on Line 4.
- Walk out of exit 4 and take a right.
- You will be on Sanggye-ro 37 na-gil. Neat, huh?
- From this point, figure it out on your own.
What signs should I follow?
At the beginning of the hike, you will look for a blue and green Seoul Trail sign. On the second leg, you will follow a sign reading Top of the Suraksan (Mt.). During the third leg of yoru journey, you will follow a sign reading 수락산 정상 (literal translation: Suraksan Peak). Some of the signs might only say 정상 (Peak).
Walk along Sanggye-ro 37 na-gil. It will eventually turn into Deongneung-ro 129ga-gil. You will pass a police station on your right. You will keep going until you reach a blue Seoul Trail sign on your right. This initial leg of your journey will be 1.3 kilometers. You will be hiking on a road. During the summer, you will pass a bee farm on your right. The vendor sells a big jar of fresh honey for 50,000 won.
The next leg of the journey is along a portion of the Seoul Trail. It is through a forested area. It is quiet and there is lots of cover. This is even a nice place to spread out a mat and have a picnic. You will know you are at the end of the Seoul Trail when you reach a few small shacks and a set of narrow stairs.
The third and final leg of your journey will start at a small temple/shrine. There is a big Buddha statue and a gold Buddha statue. This is when you reconnect onto the main trail. You will see a lot of other hikers. This is the toughest part of the hike as it takes you to the peak. The elephant rock is synonymous with Suraksan and can be seen when you get close to the top. You will see other hikers taking pictures of it.
You will cross paths with various vendors. The vendors will be selling mountain roots, ice cream, and drinks. There is also an artist that will draw your picture with a mountain background. If you are hungry or thirsty, close to the peak there is a small outdoor restaurant that sells beer, maekgolli and ramen.
Once you reach the peak, take a seat on one of the large rocks and enjoy the view. You are surrounded by mountains.
If you are confused during your descent, just look for signs reading 당고개역 (Danggogae Station). It will take you to the station and you will pass a recently constructed Buddhist Temple (Hakrimsa - 학림사).
Depending upon your pace, factor 3-5 hours.
There are quite a few local restaurants near Danggogae Station. If you are looking for something livelier, head over to Nowon Station and sample its energetic nightlife.
Elsewhere on the Web
- Suraksan - by Visit Korea
- Suraksan - by DIY Backpacker
- Suraksan, maybe the scariest hike in Seoul - by Adeel
- Hiking Suraksan - by Summer in Seoul
Extra Tips and Information
- If you need water, fruit, or other hiking supplies, there are shops outside of exit 4.
- Don't cry while on the trail. That makes things awkward for everyone.
- If you insist on being That Guy....don't.
To see more photos of Suraksan, check out the Suraksan photo album.